After solving the painting "Four People," and while painting "Window," I have felt confused in terms of commitment to theme. I wrote about my high regard of the work of Amedeo Modigliani, and how Modigliani's oeuvre was a lesson in how limited theme can facilitate creation of an excellent body of work. I recognize my lack of interest in landscape, still life, and abstract painting. I want to emphasize, I have high regard for many painters who paint within these genres, including Claude Monet, Paul Cezanne, Henri Matisse, and Willem de Kooning. I accept I am a figurative painter; I paint the human figure and physiognomy. All other objects which appear in my paintings are supports for the emotive force of the figures. This acceptance brought me to an impasse. What do I want to do with these humans in my paintings? For years I was influenced by the idea of personal mythology. After all, my most influential mentor was Philip Guston. Here is one of Philip Guston's paintings:
My recent drawings are solving my confusion. In yesterday's post I wrote how I was becoming more aggressive in my drawing. I begin drawings without theme, and quickly find direction and form. This fits me well. I am the product of twentieth century education, an era which spawned many painters who began their works without theme. Guston claimed this was his approach; Guston simply has a lot of illustrative images in his head, despite his allegiance to purely abstract painting for the 10 years of his career prior to making paintings like the one I show today. I feel satisfied with my process in drawing, but not in painting. I want my act of painting to feel like my act of drawing. This clarifies an immediate problem I must solve. I will begin a new painting today with this in mind.
Here are my two drawings from yesterday:
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